About this Show

Meet the Press

News/Business. (2010) New. (CC)

NETWORK
NBC

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN

SOURCE

TUNER

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
528

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Washington 18, America 8, Virginia 7, Us 6, Scott Brown 5, United States 4, Barack Obama 4, David Plouffe 4, Obama 4, New Jersey 4, Peggy Noonan 3, Gerald Ford 3, Brown 3, Lloyd Benson 3, Ben Bernanke 3, Benson 3, Chuck Todd 3, Katty Kay 2, E.j. Dionne 2, Valerie Jarrett 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  NBC    Meet the Press    News/Business.   
   (2010) New. (CC)  

    January 24, 2010
    10:00 - 11:00am EST  

10:00am
captions paid for by nbc-universal television this sunday, the stunning upset in massachusetts as the shot heard round the political world. >> tonight the independent majority has delivered a great victory. >> got to admit we had a little bit of a buzz saw this week. >> is health care reform dead? growing concerns about what washington is doing to create jobs. >> so long as i have the privilege of serving as your president, i will not stop fighting for you. i'll take my lumps but i won't stop fighting to bring back jobs here. >> what does the president do
10:01am
now? how will he frame his agenda during next week's state of the union address? senior white house adviser valerie jarrett. then the republicans, massachusetts victory gives the minority party a shot in the arm, but does the gop stand for something more than opposition to the obama agenda. we'll ask senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. the political landscape and the obama agenda, with us e.j. dionne, bbc world news america katty kay, peggy noonan and nbc news white house correspondent chuck todd. in our "meet the press" minute, january 1976, another time of economic turmoil presidential candidate senator lloyd benson offers practical advice to then president gerald ford on his upcoming state of the union address. >> we should be creating opportunity, what the people are
10:02am
looking for in this country is return of self confidence. first, senior white house adviser jalry jarrett. welcome back to the program, to "meet the press." >> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here. >> there is news that i wanted to ask you about. osama bin dad laden has cut another video, is that his voice and is it striking that he appears back in charge of calling the the shots on running operations for al qaeda? >> we have no independent confirmation that that is his voice but let's look at it. the fact of the matter is he is a murderer, has attacked americans and he has killed more muslims than any other group in the region. the president is committed to going after al qaeda and all of their affiliates and bringing them to justice. >> is he in direct command and control of al qaeda? >> we have no independent variousification of that. we're going after al qaeda and its affiliates for atrocities of the past. >> the other story is question
10:03am
whether ben bernanke is going to be confirmed for another term. where is the level of confidence now in the white house that he will get the votes? >> it's very high. president obama checked in with the leadership over the weekend and he heard from senator reid, that there is a lot of support for ben bernanke, we're confident that the chairman will be confirmed. >> so much news this week out of massachusetts. the stunning victory of scott brown, republican in that special election. and the obvious question that came out of that is, what's next for health care reform? the president was out in ohio on friday, he was talking about health care, talking about jobs but said he is going to keep fighting for health care. what specifically will he fight for? >> he's going to fight for what he's always been fighting for, david. the fact of the matter is it was a stunning victory but the people in massachusetts have health care reform. in fact, senator brown vote forward the health care reform that massachusetts has, he said he wouldn't vote to repeal it. and in fact, we're very
10:04am
confident that it's similar to the bills that are currently debated here. >> he'll fight for everything? >> of course. he's going to fight for the american people. david, nothing changed about the fact that costs are escalating too high, out-of-pocket expenses are growing, the premiums have doubled over the last ten years, the people who do not have insurance need insurance. the people who do have insurance are losing it because of pre-existing conditions. that the deficit is looming out of control in large part because of health care and small businesses are having to choose between laying off people and paying for health care. >> i understand the arguments for health care. >> none of that changed as a result of that election. >> what specifically in the bill will he continue to fight for? does everything have to be in there to be considered reform by this president? >> what he's doing and what happened over the course of the week is there have been a series of phone calls and conversations to try to see what the climate is, what's the art of the possible. but what the president is always going to do is try to push hard for the american people. he's not going to give up on that because of one election in massachusetts.
10:05am
he's going to continue to work hard. we don't know what's going to happen but what we know is that we have a president committed to delivering for the american people. >> fight for the package as is? >> he is going to fight for trying to get absolutely as much as he can to reduce the cost of health care, to provide insurance, provide a security and safety for those folks who have insurance now, all of the core principles that he set forth at the very beginning of the process. core principles i might add that were included in both the bill that was passed by the senate and the bill that was passed by the house. so we'll see where we go, david. >> republicans have said he has not been bipartisan in this process. is he now prepared to sit down with republican leaders to figure out what can be passed? >> david, he has been prepared since day one. in fact, he has sat down with the leadership and members on the republican party, both the house and the senate. in fact, bills in both the house and the senate contain provisions that were suggested by the republican party so nothing's changed about the president's approach. i think the question to be asked and what we learned from the
10:06am
massachusetts victory is that people are sick and tired of washington not delivering for them. so the question is really will the republican party become -- be willing to work with us, a silver lining is senator brown said yes, he's looking forward to coming to washington and working with the democrats and we're hoping that provides new leadership within the party. >> you raise massachusetts and you raise this question of priorities. this is what our recent polling found in terms of what are the priorities of the american people. on top of that list is not health care, in fact, it's job creation. that was first on the list at 38%. there's health care at 12%. fourth on the list. why keep pushing for health care in the middle of a recession when the american people don't seem to put that at the top of the list? >> you're assuming it's a choice between either or. the president from the day he was elected made job creation and the economy a first priority. let's remember where we were a year ago, david. we were losing 700,000 job as month, in the middle of the worst economic meltdown in our nation's history, our financial system was on the brink of
10:07am
collapse. we had the largest federal deficit in our nation's history. what's happened, we're no longer losing 700,000 jobs a month, we cut that less than 10%. we turned the economy around, moving forward in the right direction. >> you can't say -- sorry, you can't say you turned the economy around when there are 4 million jobs lost and the debt is higher and the stimulus did not produce the jobs that the administration said it would. >> i disagree with everything you said. let's take a look. we have pulled it back from the brink of disaster. that was our first and primary goal. the president took bold steps not necessarily popular but did stabilize the financial system. this is a long haul and we're not satisfied having any american who wants to work unemployed, something that the president takes to heart each day. this isn't something that is repaired in one year. we're going to have to push forward but that doesn't mean we give up and that doesn't mean that jobs haven't been a top priority from day one. >> you talk about the economy. what specifically is the
10:08am
president prepared to do this year to create jobs? >> well, as you mentioned he's going to be giving his state of the union address this week on wednesday and he'll have an opportunity that he's looking forward to speak directly to the american people, something you know that he always enjoys doing. and he'll be able to set forth his priorities and they will be focusing on the middle class. our middle sclas struggling, frustrated, angry, they are work hard, having to make terrible choices between paying their rent and putting food on the table and paying for health care and sending their kids to college. these are the same principles that the president advocateden the course of the campaign, they are the same principles that he has carried with him throughout the course of this year. we've taken several bold steps over the course of the year. the recovery act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. there are school teachers and firemen and teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act. we are investing in
10:09am
infrastructure, in public education so our kids can compete into the next generation, we're investing in renewable energy, these are all connected to the economy. and what we have to keep in mind, david, is that we need to have a sustainable healthy long-term economy, not a quick fix but a long-term sustainable growth. >> here was the president on friday in ohio and his tone was different. he sounded like a campaigner than an incumbent president. let's watch a piece of that. >> i did not run for president to turn away from these challenges. i didn't run to kick these challenges down the road, i ran for president to confront them once and for all. >> does this mark a new approach to how he's going to communicate with the american people? >> i would ask you to go back and look at the speech the president gave in september 2007. on the floor of nasdaq where he called for accountability, he said the that there are excesses running out of control, he will
10:10am
called for checks and balances that would stop the excessive risk-taking that was going on. that same tone is what he has had for as long as i've known him so no, i don't see any difference. die see a heightens frustration. >> he acknowledged a failure of communication of sort to communicate to the concerns of the american people. he said that this past week. >> what i saw him express on friday was the growing frustration with washington and the fact that what you continue to see here is an entrenched status quo where the special interest groups and the lobbyists dominate the day and where people have lost sight of the american people that they are here to serve. and so what you saw was frustration and anger because of what's happened over the course of the last year. we are working so hard to put our country back on the right track. and what we want is partners in the republican party and we're hopinging that with senator brown we have that. >> evan bayh, the centrist democrat from indiana as you know is among those we sought out in the course of this program to get outside voices to join this discussion.
10:11am
this was the wake-up call he described from the massachusetts special election. >> if you look at the independent voters who have bailed out of the democratic party in virginia, new jersey, now massachusetts, they care about the economy, they think the health care bill went too far in some ways and they care about spending and deficits. that's one thing we can correct starting with the budget and starting with state of the union address this week. >> add to that that the president's standing among independent voters is down 11 points from election day 2008. the president said this week that americans should be frustrated and angry. should they be frustrated and angry at him? >> he's the president of the united states. ultimately he accepts responsibility and he knows that he has to move our country in a new direction. he said from the beginning it's going to be tough and challenging and he isn't shying away from that challenge. he said he's going to continue to fight. that's what he's going to do. every single morning he wakes up recommitted to fighting on behalf of our country. every night before he goes to
10:12am
bed he reads letter from 10 people around the country, sometimes children, asking for help. the people in america love this country. they are willing to work hard. >> do they have reason to be frustrated at him? >> they have a reason with everybody because we have not delivered yet. we're in washington and we have to change the culture here. that's not something that's easy. it's not something that's going to happen overnight but certainly they have every reason to be frustrated. there is also a "washington post" poll that said look, if you show people what is in health care, they are supportive of it. and part of the problem is that there has been such a distortion and such a rhetoric and such misinformation that clutters the media that it is hard to get our message through. do we have to do a better job? absolutely. >> david plouffe who was a campaign manager in 2008 is back in the fold, a lot made of that. was the president upset that in effect he was too surprised by what happened in massachusetts? did his political team let him down? >> that's a game that washington
10:13am
likes to always play. david plouffe has been a regular adviser to the president throughout the course of the year, he ran a magnificent campaign. he has been on a book tour. now that's running to a close the president asked him to come back. the president has full support of his team. and that team will work closely with david plouffe, he's value added and we delighted to have him back. >> you're not hitting the reset button? >> no. we're not hitting a reset button. david is terrific. we're going to engage him. i think washington's always looking to have somebody out and somebody in. that's not the way this president leads. he's always looking for new talent. he looks for new talent in the republican party. >> the president came in offering change. in his first year what has he changed? >> well, i think what we've seen is a dramatic difference in terms of how the united states is perceived around the world. i think that the president has been able to travel across the world and to establish relationships with world leaders that lay a foundation for keeping america safe and making us a partner around the world so we can tackle challenges
10:14am
collectively with other world leaders. i think he has pulled back the economy from the brink of disaster. that's an enormous change when you consider where we were a year ago on the brink. and he's adding discipline in government to try to get control over our fiscal house. i think we've seen enormous change. >> valerie jarrett, thank you. let me turn to republican senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. is there one republican who will support any democratic health care initiative? >> what we need thedo is start over. i mean, the message in massachusetts was absolutely clear, the exit polls that i looked at said 48% of the people in massachusetts said they voted for the new senator over health care, only 5% mentioned any other issue. the american people had a victory in massachusetts and they were sending us the message, stop and start over. the first thing we ought to do is go back to what the president said in 2007, let's have the
10:15am
cspan cameras in the room. . two, let's concentrate on costs which is what the american people would like us to address a. good someplace with junk lawsuits against doctors and hospitals which weren't part of the proposal. it's time to start over and go step by step to address the issue that the american people -- >> there is not one republican that would vote for a democratic health care reform initiative that's out there now? >> well, this comprehensive bill, of course not. the american people are overwhelmingly opposed to it. what we need to do -- >> the party of no charge is well deserved. >> no. i said it, we need to stop and start over and go step by step to fix the cost problem. >> what elements of the president's reform plan would you keep as part of comprehensive health care reform? >> we would have to sit down and discuss that. >> we've been discussing it for months. >> the problem is we haven't been part of the discussion. we have a number of ideas none of which are in the bill. >> how many republicans were negotiating on the finance committee. >> several. >> weren't they part of the
10:16am
process? >> it's not just about talking it's about what you end up with. >> what did they say yes to in the course of that negotiation? >> from a policy point of view video what this ended up being was a $2.5 trillion bill, they cut medicare by half a trillion dollars, raised taxes by a half a trillion dollar, drive up insurance premiums for most americans, that's not preform. that didn't have much appeal to republican senators. >> so tick off the top three points of the republican plan for health care reform. >> first you do have to do it on a bipartisan basis. you put the cspan cameras in the room as the president said. you start with junk lawsuits against doctors and hospital, interstate competition among insurance companies, and many of my members would be looking -- willing to look at equalizing the tax code. right now if you're a corporation and you provide insurance, for your employees you get to deduct it on your corporate tax return. if you're an individual on the individual market, you don't. step by step to work on the cost
10:17am
problem. that's what republicans are willing to do. >> is universal coverage a priority? >> expanding coverage is a good idea. but even under this $2.5 trillion monstrosity they didn't end up covering everybody. that is easier said than done. but, if you equalize the tax code, you make it more possible for more people who are currently uninsured to purchase insurance, right now they have no tax incentive to do it and a lot of young people look at the situation and say gee, i'm going to live forever, why should i buy it. >> is health care reform dead? >> this particular bill deserves to be stopped. what we need to do is to start over, and get it right. >> my question was, you're looking at the votes, the landscape, is health care reform dead? >> the democrats are in the majority. they have the white house, they have the house, they have the senate. they have to decide whether they want to listen to the voices of the american people, all the survey, all across the country and even in the most liberal
10:18am
state in america arguably massachusetts, the people are telling us please don't pass this bill. if they get past this arrogant fatz they have been stuck in about a year that we know best, we don't want to listen to public opinion, we want to, quote, make history f they can work past that and concentrate on the real problem which is the cost, we are willing to look at it. i think we need to concentrate on the economy. look. passed a stimulus bill, the goal there was to keep unemployment at 8%. it's now 10%. in my state 10.6%. let's concentrate on what the american -- you showed the survey earlier in your program what people would like for us to work on, that's job creation. >> before we get to jobs, it sounds like you're saying there may be some reason for hope here that the president can cobble together an agreement to actually get health care reform through. is that your view? >> my hope is that this current bill we had on the table is finished. >> you're not pronouncing it finished? >> the majority ought to reach that decision. it ought to be over.
10:19am
the american people are telling us please stop trying to pass this. >> you talk about jobs. before we get to that, a key issue coming up is ben bernanke's renomination. woyl you vote for him? >> he's going to have bipartisan support in the senate and anticipate he'll be confirmed. >> will you vote for him? >> i'll let you know in the next day or so. >> you have concerns? >> i think he's going to be confirmed. >> do you have concerns about his renomination? >> some of my members do but i think he'll be confirmed. >> what is the gop plan to create jobs? >> the first thing you do is is stop this job killing health care bill. and you don't pass the energy tax that passed the house earlier this year. their prescription for new jobs is obviously higher taxes. don't do that. you've got tax relief that was passed a number of years ago expiring. next year. don't raise taxes in the middle of a recession. if i'm running a small business, david, i'm trying to figure out what to do next year, i'd like to expand employment but i'm looking at the potential for
10:20am
health care tax, i'm looking at potential of income taxes going up, dividend taxes going up, capital gains taxes going up. the cost of adding employees is bothering me. then i see the administration rattling the markets on top of it. you know, you sum up the first year what this administration has done best is rattle the markets, advocate tax increases, and run up deficits. that's not a very comforting message to business people looking at trying to expand employment. >> the president's also looking at the long term fiscal health of the united states and wants to put together a bipartisan commission that will look at the possibility of either tax increases or budget cuts or both but long-term budget health. will you support that? >> i think a spending commission is a good idea. i've been advocating it. we're going to have votes on several forms of that in this next week in the senate. spending is the problem. i do worry that if we construct this commission in the wrong
10:21am
way, it will be kind of an indirect way to raise taxes. i've already indicated what i've said earlier today that raising taxes in the middle of a recession is not a good idea. we don't want this to end up doing that. what we need is spending reduction commission. get spending down. >> you said that the republicans would always choose bipartisan solutions when they were available. and yet, the one statement from a republican this year senator demint, signals the approach that republicans have taken, which is oppose the president at all costs, just stand in the way of his agenda. is that constructive? >> look. we have 100 members of the senate. all of them have different points of view about every issue. my view is that this is not about the president, this is about the country. and if you look at the first year of this administration we haven't made much progress. we passed a deficit -- a budget that doubles the national debt in five years and triples it in
10:22am
ten, tried to pass energy tax, tried to pass health care taxes. what i hope we'll hear from the president next wednesday night so an indication he would like to go in a different direction. as i've said all year if he wants to meet us in the middle of the political spectrum we'll be there to help. >> this is how you characterize president obama's first year. how would you characterize the performance of republicans. >> what we did is try to operate on principle. the president decided to go hard left. that's why he doesn't have many of my members. if he chooses to go vern in the middle he will have broader support. >> we talked about scott brown's surprising victory in massachusetts. the celebration went forth from massachusetts throughout the political world it was an indication that perhaps a "time" cover from earlier in the year might have been wrong. this was "time" in may. it had the gop as an endangered species. maybe the party's gotten a shot in the arm here. but look at this in terms of confidence in republican
10:23am
leadership from our recent poll. to make the right decisions confidence in congressional republicans, 75% say they have some or none. are the person american people ready to return to republican leadership? >> i think the significant question is what's called if the election were today would you vote for the democrat or the republican. on the day the president was sworn in my party was down 15, a couple weeks ago we were up 4. i think the american people are never permanently in the camp of either party. never permanent. they are looking at performance. they want to know what we're going to do for them. and i think the reason that you had the victories in virginia and new jersey, and most improbably in massachusetts of all places, was the american people are saying we want to go in a different direction. i hope the president will get the message and we'll see that next wednesday night. >> does the republican party in this election year need what the republicans had in 1994 which is a contract with america as they
10:24am
did in 'anyone 4 to get 300 republicans to sign up, for no new taxes and a balanced budget? you see that being a necessity? >> i think we'll have a plan, we've had a plan, alternate plan on everything this year and i think we'll have an alternate plan for the voters in november. >> you will have a contract with america for 2010? >> i don't know what it will be called. every race is different. running in new england is different from running in the west. senate races are typically to some extent custom crafted to the people that will be voting. >> the supreme court decision this week to allow corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns is getting a lot of criticism. who do you think it benefits most, republicans or democrats? >> i don't know who it benefits but it's important for the first amendment. right now if you are a general electric and you own nbc you can say anything you want to about any candidate up to the day of the election. but if you're a corporation or a union that doesn't own a media outlet you haven't been able to so you had this big gap in the
10:25am
first amendment applying one standard to media-owned corporations, another standard to unions and corporations that don't own media outlets. now the supreme court said the first amend smt for everyone. i think that's a step in the right direction. >> the president is about to give his state of the union address. a lot of the people look at washington and say washington doesn't work. how about constructive engagement. what would you advise the president to do to help washington work better in his second year? >> look, it's about policy, not personality. i like the president, i like him a lot. i think he is a terrific person. we've had a number of meetings. i enjoy being around him, i like what he's doing in afghanistan. it's about policy, david. and if the president wants to govern in the middle there will be republicans there to meet him. >> what are republicans prepared to do to be more constructive? >> we have to see -- he's the president. he has the right to govern. governing is hard work as he's discovered. he makes the initiatives, we react to them f. he moves to the political center he will find
10:26am
more republican support. >> he has to move. >> he's the president of the united states. we're waiting for him to make his initiatives. he was chosen to make the tough decisions. he chose to go hard left the first year, we'll see beginning wednesday night where he plans to be the second year. >> given the state of the political mood right now are there incumbent republicans who need to worry this election year? >> i think that as i said earlier i don't think the voters are permanently in the camp of either party. we've seen that on full display over the last couple of years. our candidates will argue for lower tax, low er -- if the election were held today we would have a very good election. >> thank you very much. coming up next, our roundtable, sorts through it all, weighing in on the 2010 political landscape and the obama agenda. our "meet the press" minute from 1976, advice from a senator to a president as he prepares his
10:27am
state of the union address.
10:28am
our roundtablg weighs in on the political landscape.
10:29am
10:30am
we're back. joined by e.j. dionne of "the washington post." peggy noonan of "the wall street journal." chuck todd, and katty kay.
10:31am
welcome to all of you. wow, is this a week to discuss or what. there is so much to get to. let's go with massachusetts to begin with. the question of where are we then, where are we now? here were the results comparing massachusetts to where obama was in 2008, 26 points he won massachusetts by. the 2010 race, scott brown wins by 5, a 31-point shift. look at the other races. virginia, that's where obama won by 7 in '08, it's the republican mcdonnell wins by 18. a 25-point shift. new jersey, a 19-point shift, a republican winning compared to -- this was the governor's race, compared to the presidential race of 2008. peggy noonan, what happened? >> i think america never stops being a dynamic country. it's always exciting here. look, i think the president had difficulties in his first year. those shifts tell it.
10:32am
i think the big message is the 2008 election settled nothing. america is still in play. we've got republicans and conservatives being resurgent, bigger than that i think the president is losing or has lost the independent vote and the center in the united states. that's a bad thing to happen to a presidency in a first year. >> e.j. >> let's not overlook political incompetence. martha coakley was ahead by 31 points, the democrat. she got 850,000 fewer votes than barack obama did the in 2008. the democrats should have seen this coming and didn't. that's why i think they bring back david plouffe. in a larger sense, if you look at president obama's problem and the democrats' problem they are suffering at both ends. they are losing energy from their own supporters, from progressive, and they are losing in the middle, the independent
10:33am
voters voted against them in virginia and new jersey and now in massachusetts. i think that double problem belies the normal talk you heard in washington, well now we move to the center, or we move to the right. that's a really stale debate. it doesn't begin to deal with the problems democrats have because they have got too get energy on their side again, and they got to start winning the middle. that's why i think they are -- obama in these very forceful speeches where he is using the word fight about a hundred times a day is trying to say look, we get it, we are fighting against wall street. they look like wall street liberals. can you imagine a worse combination than being a wall street liberal, and they are trying to say we're going to fight for you against them. >> katty kay, here is the cover of "newsweek" that will hit the stands. you see barack obama on the cover. the title is "the inspiration gap." the president acknowledged that he had somehow failed in his ability to communicate to the
10:34am
american people, to somehow connect to their concerns. peggy, you wrote this column about whether he was connected. the obvious question is, how could that happen? how could the great communicator of our time have failed in that fundamental goal? >> i think that's the question that the white house is asking right now. that's part of whatever -- if there is going to be a reset it's a reset around communication. there were valid reasons for e stimulus plan, for health care reform. but the president failed to present the reasons in terms that ordinary families could connect with. there was almost an arrogance in the white house that we are doing the right thing for the american people, but we don't have to explain it to the american people. we don't actually have to go to the people and say we need to do this and this is why. this is why there is a real cost if we don't enact health care reform and there is a real benefit if we do enact it. i think that message didn't get across. and maybe obama came out of the election thinking i have this mandate to govern this country
10:35am
and because of my story and who i am and because of that influence i don't have to explain things. >> chuck, politico wrote what went wrong. obama and his team believed that the historical cycle had turned, that voters had not only rejected george w. bush but moved beyond. obama blooeved that early success will be self reinforcing building a powerful momentum for bold government action. this was the essence of the white house theory that success in passing a big stimulus package would lead to passing health care which would clear the way for environmental legislation all in the first year. >> this was about overlearning the lesson of clinton which is to -- don't sort of dilly daly on one issue, immediately try to do a bunch of things. i want to get back to something about this idea of the message problem, that this white house
10:36am
has. because it's odd to say they have a message problem when they are out there all the time trying to sell something. part of it is they were selling obviously a lot at one time. they got bogged down in the health care debate and now they say hey, we're out of touch, we have a message problem. they have to deal with this issue of anger at government institutions. awe and i spent time talking about the anger and lost faith they have. that hasn't gone away. that's issue here. that certainly is the message that the president believes he received on tuesday. which is look, people are still upset at institutions and he's got to figure out how to become the leader of washington and anti-washington at the the same time which i think is going to be incredibly difficult. ronald reagan pulled it off balls he had a democrat congress to run against when he was in the same position that barack obama is now. what's odd for him he's got to figure out how to run against his own democratic congress in some form and run against the institutions of washington. that's what's going to be a
10:37am
difficult challenge. >> peggy, he is also dealing with a republican congress that was more difficult than he even accounted for in terms of not being willing to work with him. that's a reality. >> that's not how republicans in washington see it. they feel that their ideas, say on health care, for instance, their ideas on tort reform, were simply flicked away and never really considered. let me say on the communications thing. the president is often out there talking. his administration is every day, if you want a lot of cable, it's what you see, it's the wallpaper of your life seeing the administration putting its case forward. i think it's the wrong lesson to draw if you think we're not talking enough or we're not talking in the right magical way. there is no right magical way. the product that you're trying to sell may be faulty. beyond that, part of communicating is listening.
10:38am
you talk, and you hear. the administration has done a bad job the past year of hearing the response of the american people and their reservations over their biggest issue which was health care. >> i would say that it's hard to hear it because the message is confused. on the one hand people are saying we want jobs but we don't want the kind of spending that it's going to take to get those jobs. we want you to be tougher on terrorism but we don't want a troop build-up in afghanistan. the message from the country is confused. there is a risk of being a little apocalyptic thinking we've had this one result and we have to have this major reset and that there is a tendency among journalists to be a little short-term about this. there are another ten months to go until midterm elections, this is one year of a presidency and there is ample time. maybe we should, and perhaps the white house needs to think this, step back and think and let's not be to -- >> especially, i agree with you on that.
10:39am
but you've got an unprecedented situation. we've never been in a situation where everything required 60 votes in the senate. there was a headline in the village voice that said republicans claim 41-59 senate majority. that's what we have come to. i think the fact that the health care bill stood around there like a bottle of milk out in the kitchen for two days made it look less and less appealing to people. and i think democrats really face a choice here. if they walk away from this health care bill, after voting for it in both house, they will look very, very weak. they are going to be stuck with those votes. i've been ta taking of sailing melt afors, if one election in one state an blow you off course you're not much of a sailor. >> there is no indication they plan to do that. >> it looks like i think this idea of the house voting the senate bill is alive. when nancy pelosi said she didn't have the votes that was a negotiating tactic. that was a make the liberal
10:40am
democrats in the house stair into the abyss of nothing and say okay, we can have nothing, how do you want to do that to get at your point. you know, another i think struggle here for this white house is the fact that nobody's seeing results. that's why i think katty, where the white house does ascribe to patience, patience. as soon as the public sees results they have something. because they did pass a number of things. and they think at some point when the economy starts turning and this and that. i think the other fundamental mistake on health care is they viewed health care, they forgot that it is connected to the economy. they would say yeah, we know that and anybody that's concerned about health care usually is not concerned about the care they are getting, they are concerned about their job and fear of losing their job and therefore health care. that's maybe where they had the priorities glxt let's talk about political conditions about the republicans. but first, 1994 comes up a lot as a comparison, a wave that would sweep democrats from power
10:41am
as they did when bill clinton was in power. e.j. dionne, in 1994 this is what you had to say on this program. >> why did the democrats get into if fix and why did clinton get into inmess. in 1992 it was very clear still is that americans are worried about a number of thing, about losing jobs especially if they are blue collar, even where the economic recovery, they don't think government works. the clinton of 92 addressed those issues. for the last year he has gotten lost in the details of health care, which chilled everybody's mind, and in whitewater. i think what he's going to have to do and the democrats have to do if they are going to get back on track is to re-connect with all of those themes and i think that's what clinton's going to spend the rest of the year doing. >> striking. could almost the same be said? >> that guy looked so young. who was that. you could have embarrassed me. that was pretty good. i do think that in fact that is
10:42am
precisely what needs to happen. peggy mentioned there were no magic words. i agree. but if you go back to ronald reagan t person that peggy worked for so effectively, ronald reagan spent a lot of time not lost in the weeds of policy, he made large arguments and made large arguments against the other side. he spent a lot of time saying this all fail liberalism doesn't work. what you need from obama in all of the speeches he has not made a consistent argument provided a consistent narrative of where i want to move the nation. i think you're beginning to see that in the last few days, and massachusetts it's very strange to say, could turn out to be blessing if it leads to a course correction ten months before the midterms t democrats didn't see what was coming in '94. boy, they do this time. >> it's interesting, lou canon who you flow the reagan biographer wrote that the conventional wisdom? how this is the unraveling of
10:43am
the obama presidency might be wrong. this could be reagan's first year. this is what he wrote. >> let me tell you what i think is the difference between now and 1992. yes, you have two young new compelling presidents and they are going through a hard time in their first year. here are the differences. one, reagan was on the same page as his public with regard to what the great issues of the day were. the economy and national security, the soviet union. president obama has not been on the same page. he's going down a different road. two, reagan in '82 had a clear plan that everybody knew.
10:44am
he said i'm going to cut your taxes, it's going to help get us out of it and i'm going to squeeze inflation out of the system. because it was clear plan people gave it time, in the end it seemed to work. three, reagan was a conservative president in a center right country. that's not true with mr. obama whose political philosophy is still oddly unclear in a way, it seems -- we see the impulses of it in his programs but we're not sure what the basic thing is but america remain as center right country. so i don't buy the parallels of '82 and now. >> i would say that lack of clarity is very important. there is a sense that people aren't confident about the leadership that they're getting from washington. and if you remember one of the things in the '08 election that the republicans and to some extent president bush have been criticized for was lack of competency. people wanted to feel they had a leadership to believe in that was competent. i think the struggles of the last week or two have begun to make them think is this white house competent.
10:45am
are they delivering on something that is clear. are they managing to get the job done. where do they go next. there is a sense of confusion. i think that's undermining for the president. >> there is also the issue of opposition that the president faces. where is the republican party. we talked a little about that. again, part of the conversation we've had outside the hour today and some outside interviews includes one with dick armey, now part of freedom works who is part of this tea party movement that was influential in massachusetts and else. where here's what he said about the center of american politics. >> this is the broad center of american politics. look at the polling data. right now the tea party polls higher than the republicans and the democrats, and it has become an increasingly clear to the electorate and they are expressing their understanding, it is the democrat majority in congress and the president that's on the liberal fringe and we are on the center. there's no doubt about it. >> i don't know they are in the
10:46am
center. when we did our own polling it's clear that the tea party get as big benefit because there is one news organization that gives them a huge bump all the time. they are favorable in the fox viewers and the rest of the country doesn't know a lot about these folks. but the message of the tea party sort of saying the government doesn't work these institutions, is tapping into what we were discussing before which is this -- not discuss but sort of this distrust of all institutions that are out there. government included. but i think that, i want to go to something e.j. said about the republican partly. i think the most striking thing about the minority party today is that a republican can't go home and it's mostly because of this tea party crap cannot go home and sell a piece of pork that they got from washington. it's now when you bring home something, saying hey, i brought federal dollars to this, you're on the defensive now. and so that does make the
10:47am
president -- it's not fast he can trade, go and have these trades with a susan collins or olympia snowe or move over to more conservative center right of lamar alexander or something like this because they're not getting a benefit at home of bringing something back because we have like destroyed this idea that somehow anything from government that comes through is bad. >> also as we tee up the state of the union, another voice we consulted was governor of pennsylvania ed rendell, former chair of the party who offer this is advice about tone and substance for the president going forward. >> mr. brown was a very fine candidate but most importantly i think our people, the democratic base, independents who supported us in the past, they want us to fight back, they want us to get something done. and look. if we're going to go down in the 2010 elections, i don't any necessarily we are but we ought to go down fighting for something we believe in like health care for every american.
10:48am
>> will president obama go down fighting? >> he hopes he doesn't go down but he will be fighting. >> is that a new approach, the fighting. >> fighting is not a word you associated with barack obama yet during the campaign it's similar to when he was fighting mrs. clinton in the primaries. he kind of had to learn it. but i want to go back to something chuck said. it's imperative, this is part of the state of the union, democrats have to show government can work because their whole argument is we can make the market work better, we can make the society better, with careful use as a government. if people don't believe government can work they aren't going to turn to the democrats. on the tea party what did the new governor of virginia and scott brown have in common. they didn't have really divisive primaries. and so they could immediately run as real conservatives to the conservatives, but as problem solving moderates to the rest of the electorate. the tea party folks give
10:49am
republicans a lot of primaries they are going to set the party back. >> is scott brown then the hope, is he a symbol for the future of the republican party? >> look, i think you got deep blue virginia, you got massachusetts -- sorry deep blue new jersey, virginia, swing state, deep blue massachusetts now. they all yielded up candidates who got the support of centrists, down the line republicans, tea party folk, whatever the tea party people say, operationally on election day they seem to be going for candidates who are republican candidates who they believe on the issues of taxing and spending. can i throw in on the idea of institutions anybody governing now has a terrible problem because faith in instance toogss, all institutions, journalism, government, the church, it's all way down. so, anybody has that built-in problem in government but i would throw out the idea that if
10:50am
you have that problem, you shouldn't be putting forward 1,000 or 2,000-page health care bill in that environment. you put out a small discreet one. >> i'll make that the last word. that's all right. thank you all very much. a programming note on monday morning with chuck todd and savannah guthrie an interview with ambassador richard holbrooke monday at 9:00 a.m. on msnbc. here our meet the press minute. january 1976, an economic crisis and another president preparing to deliver his state of the union address. the advice offered on this program from lloyd benson to republican president gerald ford after this brief station break. host: could switching to geico really save you
10:51am
10:52am
10:53am
15% or more on car insurance? host: does elmer fudd have trouble with the letter r? elmer: shhhh, be very quiet; i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): ok cut!!!! uh...it's i'm hunting "rabbits," elmer. let's try that again. elmer: shhhh, i'm hunting wabbits. director (o/c): cuuuuut! rabbits. elmer: wabbits director (o/c): rabbits. elmer: wabbits. director (o/c): rabbits with an "r." elmer: aw...this diwector's starting to wub me the wong way. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. we're back with our "meet the press" minute. january 1976, another time of economic turmoil in this country as then president gerald ford prepares to give his state of the union address to an anxious
10:54am
nation. unemployment climbed to 9% in the preceding year and president ford's approval below 50%. it was an election year, a steady stream of presidential candidates made appearances on the program. here was one of them, democratic senator lloyd benson offering advice to the republican president he hoped to run against and defeat. >> senator benson, if you were the president and had to deliver the state of the union message, what would you list as your first domestic priority now? >> the first domestic priority is getting people back on payrolls. getting them off the unemployment rolls, back where they are contributing to their families and contributing to doing away with this deficit we're facing. to have the head of the family home, the kids saying what's wrong with dad, why isn't he working, what they are really trying to do in this economy of ours is to keep their foot on the brake of the economy. i don't think we should be doing that.
10:55am
we should be creating opportunity, what people really are looking for in this country is return of self confidence. i believe i could make a contribution there in a major one. >> while benson gained little traction in his presidential bid the democratic nominee a little known jimmy carter went on to narrowly win the white house later that year. for senator benson he went on to become the democratic vice presidential nominee in 1988, later served as president bill clinton's treasury secretary. he died in 2006 at the age of 85. we'll be right back.
10:56am
10:57am
before we go this morning a programming note. stay with nbc news and msnbc wednesday night for coverage of the president's state of the union address. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
10:58am
10:59am